My family has a tradition of being unconventional for any non-Chinese holiday so we tend to experiment our menus beyond the standard turkey as of recent years. This year I opted to try out a family-owned geese producer Schiltz Foods‘ for their amazing geese products and their smoked goose was the star of our dinner table in lieu of the turkey.
Here’s what we cooked, baked, drank and ate this Thanksgiving (with a few recipes with the geese products toward the end)…
The non-goose sides on our table were roasted beets with toasted cumin and mint. I like the mix of sweetness of the beets with the earthy, curry-like spice of the cumin and the refreshing mint to tie it all in. Brussels sprouts are tweaked a bit from the standard bacon by adding a slightly sweet and tart dried cranberries. The arguable odd-ball was fried shrimp with a side of harissa mayonnaise.
Our beverages of the evening were started with a cranberry spritzer (photo) made with George Dickel Rye Whiskey, cranberry juice and topped off with ice and club soda. During the meal we had an amazing pairing of Bellwether Lord Scudamore hard cider that had fine Champagne-like bubbles, the cider was tart, and brut enough to go with everything we had.
The smoked goose was truly the star of the table and it was the easiest thing to prepare for the entire feast. All I had to do was defrost the bird, set the oven to 350°F and heat it until the internal temperature reaches at 150°F (about 45 minutes in my oven). It yielded to a gorgeous mahogany lacquer skinned goose, juicy meat and it almost tasted like ham because it was pre-cooked in smoke.
As for the goose liver, I experimented with them by making goose liver pâté flavored with 21-year old Cognac, rendered goose fat, herbs and seasonings, and the straight-forward treatment of searing (with an overnight soak in milk). Both were delicious that even my brother (who isn’t a fan of liver) liked them. (The recipe is at the end of the post).
The deep dish potato galette you see above was tossed with thinly sliced onions, melted, rendered goose fat, and herbs making it crisp and sublimely flavored because of the distinct flavor from the goose fat.
In case we weren’t full enough, I baked a deep dish winter fruit pie (recipe from Epicurious) but replaced the walnut crumb for a fanciful looking lattice top. It’s a very hearty pie but it does taste like and smelled like late autumn.
Since sweet potatoes were bountiful (and inexpensive) at my local grocery store, I roasted them, puréed it with melted extra virgin coconut oil (I used Kelapo) and sugar that resulted in a heavenly scent and flavor. The somewhat kooky thought was to bake it into a loaf of bread. It worked and my family loved it.
It was a decadent and delicious meal. Being surrounded with family made it even better.
To view more photos of this lunch, please view the slideshow below (or CLICK HERE for my photo set):
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Duck-fat Potato Galette
Softened butter to grease pan and parchment paper
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/4 teaspoon paprika
4 tablespoons rendered duck (or bacon fat), melted
1 teaspoon (or more) kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds medium Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/8″-thick slices
1 small sweet onion, very thinly sliced
Arrange a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 425°F. Brush a foil-or parchment-lined baking sheet with butter; set springform ring on top.
Toast caraway in a small skillet over medium heat until fragrant and let it cool. Place in a resealable plastic bag; crush with a rolling pin or bottom of a skillet. Place in a large bowl with paprika. Add duck fat, 2 tablespoons butter, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Add potatoes; toss to coat.
Arrange 1/4 of potatoes in an even layer inside ring on baking sheet, overlapping as needed. Toss onion in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Arrange 1/3 of onion over potatoes. Repeat layers twice more, finishing with a layer of potatoes. Carefully remove ring.
Bake until potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes. Brush with 1 tablespoon butter. Bake until edges of potatoes are deep golden and top is crisp, 5-10 minutes longer.
Run a thin spatula under galette to loosen from foil. Slide onto a platter. Season with salt, if desired.
Goose liver pâté
Recipe adapted from Jacques Pepin
1/2 pound goose livers, well-trimmed
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
1 small garlic clove, smashed and peeled
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon thyme leaves
1/2 cup water
6 ounces rendered goose fat, at room temperature
2 teaspoons Cognac or Scotch whisky
Freshly ground pepper
Toasted baguette slices, for serving
In a medium saucepan, combine the goose livers, onion, garlic, bay leaf, thyme and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Add the water and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the livers are barely pink inside, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
Discard the bay leaf. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the livers, onion and garlic to a food processor; process until coarsely pureed. With the machine on, add the goose fat, 2 tablespoons at a time, until incorporated. Add the Cognac, season with salt and pepper and process until completely smooth. Scrape the pâté into large ramekins or serving bowl. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pâté and refrigerate until firm. Serve chilled.